Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Art of Recycling a Wedding Dress

As most are aware of, tis the season for weddings! Even though I’m not getting married any time soon, I thoroughly enjoy watching and reading about other people’s weddings. The party planner in me loves seeing the planning process and how everything turns out in the end. As most women are aware of, one of the most coveted things in a wedding is the bride’s gown. The search for the perfect dress can turn a perfectly normal woman into a deranged animal.

These gowns can fluctuate in price from $200 up to the six digits in some cases. Let’s be realistic, if you’re looking to downsize this is your prime opportunity. Sure you can camp outside David’s Bridal for three days before the annual sale and take out someone’s Grandma to find the right dress at a bargain price. Or you can browse the interweb to compare prices. The downside with that is, you can’t physically see the dress and for all you know, it will need another $300 in alterations. 

The average price a woman spends is between $800-$1000. That is without alterations. And if you’re anything like me (short and…curvy), those alterations can cost up to $200. So with all your (or your parents’) hard earned money spent on this dress…what do you do with it after your big day?

That question has a couple of different answers to it. You can do what most do and store the dress in plastic for two decades in the basement.  It will chill there until your daughter decides she wants to be Frankenstein’s bride for Halloween and “decorates” your lovely dress with fake blood. 

Or you can take a different approach to the dress dilemma. And try one of these newfangled ideas.

·         Renting a wedding dress
If the thought of not owning this priceless heirloom is distressing to you, then please skip this option. If you’re looking to have a gorgeous dress for your wedding and can part ways with it after; then this might be a good alternative for you. Renting a tux is as common place at a wedding as doing the Macarena. So why has it taken so long for girls to jump on the bandwagon? I have no idea. But stores are popping up all over the United States that offer this service for as low as $100! Designer gowns will of course be a little more pricey but nothing close to what you would pay to buy one. Every rental store has different guidelines, so make sure you do your homework before you rent a gown. And best yet..this dress won’t be sitting in your attic for twenty years.

·         Borrowing a wedding dress
If you’re against renting one, then you must think I’m down right crazy to suggest borrowing one. But I recently read an article (that can be found here) of 3 friends who shared 1 dress for all their weddings. Now, it is definitely rare to find three friends who fall in love with the same dress, but if it happens…make it work. 

·         Selling your dress to a rental store after the wedding
Who wouldn't want to re-use this dress?
These smart brides realized that after their big day they are never going to wear their dress again. So instead of storing it in the basement, they decided to essentially “sell back” their dress to a wedding dress renting establishment. You take your dress in, the saleswoman appraises it and tells you what they would buy it for, and you make the sale. You leave with some money in your pocket and some extra space in the basement. 

·         Donating your dress
If you really want your own dress but don’t feel the need to keep it afterward, there is no reason you shouldn’t donate it. Thrift shops or “second hand” stores are always in need of wedding dresses. You were fortunate enough to buy one, some other women don’t have that luxury. Why not let someone else enjoy the dress? Not only will you be doing a good deed, but maybe splurging for the $1200 dress you really want will seem more acceptable if you know at least two people will be getting to wear it. Just a thought…

Bottom Line:

Everything depends on you. Some women have been dreaming about their wedding day since they were young and won’t settle for anything but the best. Other women would be happy getting married braless and in sweats.  Although I understand the sentimental value a wedding dress holds, I personally find it to be selfish to store a dress you (hopefully) will never wear again when someone else can use it. If you’re under the impression one day your daughter will walk down the aisle in your dress…you might want to re-think that. Styles change and no young girl walks to rock the wedding dress with the shoulder pads (sorry mom!). 

No thank you...

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